Anne McKevitt sees herself as a curious adventurer and evolver who never likes life to remain the same for too long. Over the course of three decades she has educated, enlightened and entertained millions of people. Her accomplishments include that of globally recognized business leader, bestselling author, TV personality, multiple award winner and much respected philanthropist.
Anne’s reputation and achievement highlights include:
- Member of President Bill Clinton's, Clinton Global Initiative
- Awarded Leading Women Entrepreneur of the World™
- Member of the Women's Leadership Board at Harvard
- Recognized by The International Herald Tribune as a World Class Entrepreneur
- Named by Time Magazine as “one of Four International Business Leaders to Watch”
- Placed at #30 in The Sunday Times 500 Most Powerful Britons
- Forbes Magazine stated; "at the head of the pack … Anne McKevitt”
- Chair Ernst & Young, Entrepreneur of the Year Awards
- Executive-in-Residence Brisbane Graduate School of Business Queensland University of Technology
The Early Years
Anne grew up in the far north of Scotland in the most remote and isolated town on the British mainland. She lived in a house where domestic violence was prevalent. At the age of 11 she started to accumulate money by working after school. These savings enabled her to leave school at age 15, without any qualifications, and move to London. Since then she has proven that with tenacity, courage, unblinking focus and vision you can come from nothing and end up somewhere great. Her remarkable journey, from being completely penniless to truly wealthy, and from a government council house to The White House shows the grit and determination of a life without compromise.
Life Starts at 15
Anne ran away from home at 15 years of age to get away from domestic violence. Arriving in London to start a new life, Anne wanted to work in fashion. She walked in off the street and asked for a job at John Frieda—the top hair salon in the UK at the time. She saw this as a direct route into that world. Within a week she had a job working directly alongside John Frieda himself and headed out on her first photoshoot with the legendary photographer David Bailey.
After eleven months of personal training with John Frieda and shortly after her sixteenth birthday Anne qualified as a stylist. She had already clocked up working with most of the world’s elite fashion photographers, and for every glossy magazine in the UK, US and Germany including Elle, Harpers & Queen, Vogue, Cosmopolitan.
Many photoshoots featured fledgling young models who would go on to become the superstars of that era—Naomi Campbell, Yasmin Le Bon, Linda Evangelista and Brook Shields. When Anne wasn’t working on magazines shoots, she was styling hair at London and Paris catwalk shows and for music videos for the likes of Spandau Ballet, Foreigner and Culture Club.
By the time she hit 18, Anne’s clientele was mostly made up of A-list celebrities. She was a regular visitor to Kensington Palace where she styled the hair and fitted tiara’s on to many members of the British Royal Family. Anne also frequently styled the hair of the Queen of Greece in her home, and the Queen of Spain and Queen Noor of Jordan when they were in London. Anne was named in the national press as one of the top four hairstylists in the UK before she was 19.
Sitting in the passenger seat of a stationery car, Anne’s life changed forever in 1986 when another vehicle hit her car at 70mph. Told she may never walk again, she was totally bedridden for almost a year, the first four months of which Anne didn’t speak. Thanks to former clients Paul and Linda McCartney, who stepped in and found and funded alternative treatments for her, Anne was back on her feet after 18 months, and literally began rebuilding her life one step at a time through recuperation, rehabilitation, and iron will determination. Two years after her accident she was once again walking and had mastered climbing stairs again.
Starting Up in Business
Unable to return to her work in fashion due to her spinal injuries, at age 23 Anne sought a new way to be creative. With “lots of courage, a big dream, and a massive dose of naïveté” she started her first business, a property development company. She started it with only £5,000—borrowed from her MasterCard®. In less than one year she had turned it into a multi-million pound business, with a team of forty tradesmen working non-stop. Soon she was refurbishing and developing hundreds of West London homes and made record prices per square foot for every property she sold.
Next came business #2 running simultaneously and working alongside business #1. The second business she started—doing interior design for clients who already had a property but wanted a “McKevitt refurbishment”—was just as successful. Anne knew she wanted to make the maximum money with the least amount of work, so she shot for the top. Within just a few years of arriving in London she had attracted a clientele that reads like a who’s who, including: the Sultan of Brunei, Michael Caine, Dyan Cannon, Catherine Deneuve, Faye Dunaway, Sir Bob Geldof, the Queen Of Greece, the Duchess of Gloucester, Jerry Hall, Sir Elton John, Queen Noor of Jordan, Annie Lennox, Sophia Loren, Paul McCartney, Kate Moss, Joan Rivers, the Queen of Spain, Ringo Starr, Emma Thompson, Julie Walters, Raquel Welch, and Bill Wyman.
Television and Books
In early 1994, Anne, as a sought-after property developer and interior designer, caught the attention of TV producers looking for a host for a new lifestyle show. Because of her learn-on-the-job skills in property and her reputation for turning any property into a goldmine, Anne was asked by BBC TV producers to feature her work on national TV. Her one-off guest appearance on TV turned into an unexpected new career.
For the next decade, Anne became a prime time TV star and celebrity in the UK where she was viewed by an average 9 million people each week and many millions more in a further 22 countries. The UK media labelled her "Britain’s Martha Stewart" as she instigated a colour and contemporary style revolution that transformed the British nation's homes and gardens. Anne went on to launch her branded indoor and outdoor homeware product line sold through big box retailers, department stores and catalogues.
Anne wrote five bestselling and critically acclaimed interior design books which were sold in 16 countries. Her first book sold a staggering one million copies and broke new ground in the category of lifestyle books, making it the 20th bestselling overall book of that decade in the UK.
Best Home in Scotland—UK National Home Builder design award sponsored by The Guardian newspaper
Anne’s work and interviews have appeared in hundreds of magazine publications in the UK and internationally, and she has been featured in thousands of newspaper articles from around the world including The New York Times, The Sunday Times, The Times, Sun Herald, Vive, Cape Argus, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, New York Post, New Yorker, San Francisco Chronicle, Boston Globe, USA Today, Vogue, Harpers & Queen, ELLE, Hello!, OK!, Good Housekeeping, House Beautiful, Home & Garden, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, She, Living etc, Forbes, Time, Ideal Home, Radio Times, TV Times, Your Garden, Company, Executive Magazine, Wealth Creator and Chief Executive.
Having accomplished everything she had set out to do within the medium of design, she felt that it was time to move on. At the height of her fame and success, Anne was put in a difficult situation when a work colleague was shot dead outside the front door of her own home and there was extensive coverage, with many frontpage stories across the British newspapers, that Anne could be the shooters next target. She decided it was time to change things and move out of the public eye and map out the next chapter of her life, even though she was due to enter into a lucrative new global TV deal. Not one to do things in small measures she hung up her TV presenter hat and emigrated to a new country. Granted a “Distinguished Talent” visa by the Australian Government, Anne moved permanently to Sydney where she now bases herself for a large part of her year. Anne still battles with the effects of possibly being a shooter’s potential target and has lived with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) for the past two decades.
Known for her skill in building her own lifestyle brand, Anne became very sought after by large corporations to help grow their organisations. She has guided many well-known global entities including Mercedes, IKEA, Royal Doulton, Peugeot, Ernst & Young, Wal*Mart, Deloitte, Waterford Crystal, Jeep, Bloomingdale’s, Saks, Pottery Barn, Moet et Chandon, Freeman’s, Sainsbury’s, Debenhams, Wedgwood, Marks & Spencer, Commonwealth Bank, Optus, AMP, Toyota, and Hewlett-Packard. Furthermore, as a brand builder she became a much requested event speaker, performing live at events with audiences of up to 25,000 people.
Anne McKevitt’s business and philanthropic reputation has taken her into global education and political circles. 2006 saw Anne being invited to join Harvard’s Women’s Leadership Board at the John F. Kennedy School of Government. Several months later she was given the honorary post of Entrepreneur-at-Large for Brisbane Graduate School of Business at Queensland University. In 2007 she was invited to join President Bill Clinton’s, Clinton Global Initiative.
Much of Anne’s philanthropic time has been spent working on the issues of poverty alleviation, global health, climate change and education with 52 past and present presidential and prime ministerial heads of state including:
President Bill Clinton
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair
Former President of Ireland Mary Robinson
President of Columbia
President of Iceland
President of Ethiopia
President of Afghanistan
President of the Philippines
President of Argentina
Prime Minister of Turkey
President of the Dominican Republic
Anne’s additional humanitarian and climate associations has seen her work with:The Honourable Al Gore
In 2007 Anne McKevitt was invited to The White House and Capitol Hill by the Bush Administration to take part in discussions and attend briefings on foreign policy, labour, legislative affairs, and climate change, and subsequently fulfilled a long held ambition to visit the Oval Office. In 2009 she met with President Barack Obama.
Pivotal Year of Change
2010 was a pivotal year of change for Anne in which she mapped out the next phase. The year became one of new pursuits and relinquishing, redefining and reviewing what was most important to her both personally and in business. With this in mind, Anne resized and refined her business portfolio and organizational involvement to a core select few existing and new ventures that enthused her and that could bring about the most positive change across the globe. It was also the year that saw her take her first 14,000 feet skydive.
Spreading the Knowledge
In 2011 Anne poured much of her year into focusing further on micro finance in the developing world through her own foundation. Additionally, she set up a program to educate small business owners in the developed world. She also set up a partial scholarship program for small business owners to learn in groups from her direct. Inundated by interest, one tweet alone garnered over 3000 applications for her business program.
Anne’s native Scotland recognised her as one of 50 Highland Heroes from the last 500 years—an honour of which she is extremely proud.
Sky's the Limit
2012 saw Anne heavily involved for the first time in the health & wellness industry, devising new online program formats, TV show formats, books, DVDs, apparel, beauty and food product lines, that rolled out in US and Australian markets. Each sector became a category killer in the industry, reaping hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue.
During this year, she was one of only 150 people from around the globe who were invited by NASA to witness the final launches of Space Shuttles Endeavour and Atlantis at the Kennedy Space Centre, Cape Canaveral. The behind the scenes experience at NASA for Anne included three days of private time with astronauts, technicians, scientists and NASA chiefs and was definitely one of her favourite lifetime experiences. To cap it off, it included a photo opportunity with Anne leaning against the NASA countdown clock—a childhood dream come true.
Late 2012 and much of 2013 saw Anne shift a large proportion of her focus to family needs. She says; “I've had to put much of my world to one side. When terminal illness affects a family member, it puts everything into perspective. Not only do you see the world in a different light, you get to view yourself in a different light too. I didn't know I had an ounce of Florence Nightingale in me, but circumstances showed me otherwise. Life has a way of revealing what you don't even know you possess”.
During this time much of Anne’s career focus on developing new opportunities was on pause although her output and her achievements were still significant—closing over 35 deals worth potentially several hundred million dollars. Throughout this period, she continued advising and negotiating deals for media, books, products, retail and ambassadorships on behalf of several Hollywood based clients.
2015 saw Anne set up her own TV production company and she wrote three documentary series as the first projects out of the gate. One of these is an 8-part documentary series she co-produced with a renowned Tony Award winning actor and partnered with a multi Emmy and BAFTA award winning production house. These productions are pre-airing. She was invited to join a new business partnership that includes two Grammy Award winning musicians to create the biggest plant-based food company in the world.
Having had two family members with neurological based severe body movement and paralyses issues led Anne to become a brain neuroscience devotee and very knowledgeable in this area. She was asked to speak at a global medical event to share her know how on how she implemented a different system of care for one of her loved ones.
In 2017 Anne’s personal experience, coupled with her business acumen led to her being recognised as the ideal candidate to become the key business advisor to the world’s first residential aged care microtown that offers an entirely new model of care for the elderly, those living with dementia, other complex care needs and degenerative diseases.
During 2019, Anne’s largest work project was as lead advisor on brand building for a game-changing $31.5 Billion new city project. The development of this new model city will cover 412 hectares, create educational space for 90,000 students, numerous research and development jobs, 70,000 new residents and 30,000 new home dwellings. 2020 saw Anne, through her Studio McKevitt | Private Label, undertake design projects in Sydney.
In 2022 Anne will continue heading up and guiding her A-List Hollywood clients, remarkable personalities and high level entrepreneurs through her well-regarded brand advisory company MDPC Global. Anne will also be expanding her SheSuccess business to a fully online community of ambitious women in business. SheSuccess is a gateway for women to learn entrepreneurial and career skills through street smart business and life education programs. Additionally, Anne launched Plant Future in 2021, a new business advisory specifically for anyone wishing to grow a vegan or environmentally business or category within their existing business.
As a compassionate eater for 49 years, Anne is a passionate vegan, a lifelong environmentalist and animal rights advocate, Anne continues to be decades ahead of the curve on topics now garnering global attention.
The climate crisis is a huge concern for Anne, and she believes everyone has to play their part in eradicating the speed of the change, before our planet gets to the tipping point of no return.
Her personal pastimes include; photography, abstract and portrait painting, pottery, yoga, kayaking, year-round sea swimming, body boarding, walking, hiking, going to the movies and chilling out at the beach when she should be in the office.
As a self-confessed space science geek, her most ambitious goal was to become the third women astronaut in the space tourist program, where she would spend up to ten days on the International Space Station. She said, “It might be a dream too far in my lifetime, but we all need big goals or really what is the point? Everyone needs to aim to live no ordinary life”.